Fast Food :: Packaging & brands like McDonald’s affect young children

Young children are swayed easily by brand preferences, revealed by researchers. It is likely to intensify the pressure on food and beverage companies to cut back on marketing to children as obesity rates among that age group continue to climb.

“The branding effect is very strong, even by only 3 to 5 years of age,” said Robinson the lead author of the research. The study published in the August issue of Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine.

The degree of preference expressed by the children correlated with the number of television sets they had in their homes and the frequency with which they ate at McDonald’s.

“It’s really an unfair marketplace out there for young children,” said Robinson, who is also a member of the Stanford Prevention Research Center. “It’s very clear they cannot understand the persuasive nature of advertising.” Robinson.

He and his colleagues also asked the children’s parents to complete a questionnaire that asked, among other things, how many TVs they had in their house, how often they ate at McDonald’s and whether they had any toys from McDonald’s.

The kids had an average of 2.4 televisions in their homes, and more than half the kids had a TV in their bedrooms. About one-third of the children ate at McDonald’s more than once a week, and more than three-quarters had McDonald’s toys at home.

“We found that kids with more TVs in their homes and those who eat at McDonald’s more frequently were even more likely to prefer the food in the McDonald’s wrapper,” said Robinson, adding that marketing is more than just television advertisements, and that it’s not restricted to McDonald’s.

Leave a Comment